Why Sysco Workers In New England Have Ended Their Strike

America's food supply is highly dependent on trucks — according to Safety Culture, 70.5% of all food transportation is done by trucks. It's no wonder, then, that the recent Sysco labor union strike had an impact on food shortages in America. Sysco is the largest broadline distributor (meaning that they supply a variety of items to retailers and restaurants, acting as a one-stop shop, per Nosh) and serves over 650,000 clients (via Yahoo). This past late September, over 200 of their employees at the Syracuse distribution center went on strike, which meant disrupting supply lines to over half of New York's restaurants as well as a few schools, universities, hospitals, and nursing homes (per Syracuse.com). Additionally, over 300 workers walked off the job at one of Sysco's centers in Boston (via Restaurant Business).

The reason behind these strikes? Workers at the Syracuse distribution center, known as Teamsters, claim that a promised pay raise during the pandemic was never delivered upon (via CNY Central), while in Boston, Restaurant Business says the reasons listed included overtime and insurance issues. But the near three-week strike has now come to an end.

A new contract agreement for union workers at Sysco

The Local 653 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have successfully voted in a new contract that would increase their pay by $11 an hour over a time period of five years, in addition to quelling concerns of overtime and too-expensive healthcare insurance, as reported by Restaurant Business. As for the Syracuse hub, Teamsters Local 317 reached an agreement with Sysco on October 14, per Syracuse.com.

This win for union workers in the food industry is a display of the power of collective bargaining and unions, which is especially encouraging in a summer where multiple major food corporations were accused of engaging in union busting tactics, including Chipotle (via The Wall Street Journal). And this past May, there was a big push to unionize Starbucks, which may have been incited by the pandemic (per Brookings). As for Sysco, all's well that ends well, as the company has released a statement that they are "pleased" the drivers have accepted the terms of their new agreement, per Mass Live.